Confessions of a Ridiculously Exhausted Suburban Greenmom...
I suppose in the interest of full disclosure I should admit up front that I’ve always sort of thought of New Year’s Resolutions as kind of a crock, an arbitrary date on which people are supposed to automatically have a sense of what they want to accomplish and be ready to take the steps to accomplish it. A date when lofty goals are set with no realistic plan or idea of what steps need to be taken and exactly what it will cost to achieve it. (In that, sort of like
And yet here I am writing a post about them. Go figure.
The thing is, it is the new year, and while making sweeping pronouncements about change isn’t something I’m inclined to do, taking a little time to look back and reflect on where I’ve come over the past year, and where I’d perhaps like to go in the year to come, is something I think is really worthwhile. No particular reason, I guess, why it has to be done in the beginning of January—it’s just when It’s Done, you know? Open ye the west door and let the old year go…Open ye the east door and let the new year in, as the carol sings…
So what have I done, greening-wise, over the past year? For one thing, I got serious about my blog. I’ve had one for a while, but last spring I decided to really put some energy into it, and it’s been something that’s given a lot of energy right back to me. (Plus it’s found me a spot here among the superheroes at the Booth, which is awesome!)
We got serious about our garden this year and grew enough food that we had to buy very little produce for a good portion of the summer. And we started making a separate trip to the local farmstand for other produce rather than just grabbing it at the grocery store. Somewhere during this year I started examining packages to see where my eggs and apples came from, and somewhere else during this year I realized that I pretty much never bother to go near the “normal” grocery store any more. My crockpot gets almost daily use these days, and most convenience foods have disappeared from the cabinets of my kitchen. Our family can get through most weeks on only one bag of garbage and two bins of recycling. And our stash of grocery bags has dwindled to almost nothing, as I’ve started bringing my own bags. I read Michael Pollan. I watched Food, Inc.
But on the other hand, there are a good number of areas I could certainly improve on. We still use paper towels and napkins, way too many of them. Public transportation is something I barely touch. I work only about 8 miles from home; during the spring and summer months I could certainly bike to work, but I don’t, I never have. I still set foot in Wal-Hell and Target far more often than I’d like to, and I still occasionally pull into drive-throughs and get food I know isn’t good for me. And I still weigh a good many pounds more than I should. I’m too sedentary, and I am not careful with my diet; I don’t much care about being thin, but I have a feeling if I stopped eating the bad stuff, ate when I was hungry and paid attention to what food my body needed at any given moment, I’d probably lose a good bit of the extra weight I’m carrying around…
So…resolutions? As I said, I don’t really believe in them. I believe in paying attention. So I hereby resolve, in the coming year, to stay alert, to pay attention to what’s happening in the world. To pay attention to my own life, and my family’s, and watch for places where I can keep growing. To look for what is useless and cluttering up my life, both inwardly and outwardly, and try to divest myself of it. To look for what is valuable and life-giving and nourish and cherish it. Scheduling opportunities and readiness seldom succeeds; but keeping our eyes open to see them coming makes them much easier to grasp when they do appear. And when we’ve grasped one opportunity and it’s had its time, we need to be able to let go of it, to free our hands to grasp the next thing that comes along.
So—a wonderful and verdant New Year to all!
“Here we bring new water from the well so clear
For to cleanse our spirits in this happy new year.
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the earth
Let the old year go so the new year can give birth”